ISLAMABAD-The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Tuesday directed the government to fill the vacant post of Director General (DG) Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) on permanent basis.

A single bench of IHC comprising IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah conducted hearing of the petition filed by Syed Saqlain Akhtar through his counsel Zeeshan Zafar Hashmi Advocate and also asked the Attorney General for Pakistan to appear before the court in person on the next hearing to be held on November 24.

Saqlain moved the court against revocation of his pilot licence and also sought appointment of Director General (DG) CAA on permanent basis.

During the hearing, Justice Athar remarked that his court could not interfere in the issue of revocation of pilots’ licences. He added that the power to revoke and restore licences rests with the relevant authority and not the court. He observed that at present, the country’s aviation regulator is non-functional and the licence issue would get resolved once a permanent director general of the authority is appointed.

He said that it is up to the DG CAA to decide whether to revoke a pilot’s licence or restore its. He directed the matter to be placed before the authority’s chief after appointment to the post is made. He maintained that the government needs to fulfill its duty properly in a timely manner.

Previously, Justice Athar had noted in his order, in this matter, the Aviation Division failed to give satisfactory explanation to queries raised by the court. It also could not explain that why the matter was delegated to the acting Director General of the Civil Aviation Authority when the Lahore High Court vide order, dated 05-12-2019, passed in a writ petition had directed the Secretary Aviation Division to consider the objections and pass a speaking order. He added that the CAA also could not give a satisfactory explanation for failure to appoint an eligible and competent person as Director General of the Civil Aviation Authority on permanent basis for the last two years. He stated that twice advertisements were published but through the process, a suitable person could not be identified.

In this matter, the counsel for the petitioner contended that the post of DG Civil Aviation Authority has not been filled on permanent basis since last two years. He also referred to para 3 of the impugned order, dated 14.07.2020 wherein pursuant to the direction of the learned Lahore High Court in W.P. no. 34997/2019, the matter was to be disposed of by the Secretary, Aviation Division. He also asserted that the Secretary Civil Aviation Authority is also holding the additional charge of the post of DG CAA.

In his petition, the petitioner also assailed order, dated 14.07.2020, whereby his Airline Transport Pilot License has been revoked. His counsel further contended that the petitioner was never confronted with any material relating to the alleged use of unfair means to clear ATPL theoretical knowledge examinations.

He argued that the posts of Secretary, Aviation Division and Director General, Civil Aviation Authority are held by the same person, therefore, the impugned order, dated 14.07.2020 is not sustainable.